Page images


Hear the tolling of the bells

Iron bells !
What a world of solemn thought their monody compels !

In the silence of the night,

How we shiver with affright
At the melancholy menace of their tone!

For every sound that floats
From the rust within their throats


Is a groan.




And the people-ah, the people-
They that dwell up in the steeple,

All alone,
And who tolling, tolling, tolling,

In that muffled monotone,
Feel a glory in so rolling

On the human heart a stone
They are neither man nor woman-
They are neither brute nor human-

They are Ghouls:
And their king it is who tolls;
And he rolls, rolls, rolls,

A pæan from the bells !
And his merry bosom swells

With the pæan of the bells !
And he dances, and he yells;

Keeping time, time, time,

In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the pæan of the bells

Of the bells :
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the throbbing of the bells

Of the bells, bells, bells—
To the sobbing of the bells;
Keeping time, time, time,

As he knells, knells, knells,
In a happy Runic rhyme,





To the rolling of the bells

Of the bells, bells, bells-
To the tolling of the bells,
Of the bells, bells, bells, bells—

Bells, bells, bells
To the moaning and the groaning of the bells.

HELPS TO STUDY Biographical and Historical: Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston on January 19th, 1809. Both his parents were members of a theatrical troupe then playing in Boston. He was left an orphan at the age of three years, and was adopted by a wealthy Virginia planter and by him educated in England and elsewhere. Owing to his erratic habits, Poe's foster-father disowned him, and after that life for him was a constant battle with poverty. His prose tales abound in adventure, allegory, and the supernatural. His poetry is full of imagery, beauty, and melody.

Notes and Questions What kinds of bells does the poet scribe.

seek to reproduce the sound of ? Which lines are especially musical Which bells has he described best? and pleasing? Point out words particularly suited What can you say of the fire-bells to express the sound they de

of today? Words and Phrases for Discussion "euphony"

"tintinnabulation” “expostulation" “Runic" "crystalline"




It was many and many a year ago,

In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know

By the name of Annabel Lee;
5 And this maiden she lived with no other thought

Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,

In this kingdom by the sea :
But we loved with a love that was more than love

I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven

Coveted her and me.


And this was the reason that, long ago,

In this kingdom by the sea,
15 A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling

My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsmen came

And bore her away from me,

To shut her up in a sepulchre 20

In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in heaven,

Went envying her and me
Yes !—that was the reason (as all men know,

In this kingdom by the sea)
25 That the wind came out of the cloud by night,

Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love

Of those who were older than we

Of many far wiser than we
30 And neither the angels in heaven above,

Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee:


For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling,—my darling,—my life and my bride,

In the sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.




Notes and Questions Like "The Bells,' this poem

is Mention lines that are especially musical and the words

pleasing to you. chosen with reference to this What reason is given for the death quality.

of Annabel Lee Notice that the repetition of the Why did the angels "covet” and

word “many” adds to the music "envy” the lovers? of the first line.

How strong was this love? Find other lines in which a word Why does not the lover feel sepa

is repeated for the sake of rated from Annabel Lee? melody.

Do you like this poem | Why? Find lines in which rhymes occur.

Words and Phrases for Discussion "winged seraphs'' "sounding sea"sepulchre” "highborn kinsmen' 5.coveted”





This I beheld, or dreamed it in a dream :

There spread a cloud of dust along a plain;
And underneath the cloud, or in it, raged
A furious battle, and men yelled, and swords
Shocked upon swords and shields. A prince's banner
Wavered, then staggered backward, hemmed by foes.
A craven hung along the battle's edge,
And thought, “Had I a sword of keener steel —
That blue blade that the king's son bears,—but this
Blunt thing— !” he snapt and flung it from his hand,
And lowering crept away and left the field.
Then came the king's son, wounded, sore bestead,
And weaponless, and saw the broken sword,
Hilt-buried in the dry and trodden sand,
And ran and snatched it, and with battle-shout
Lifted afresh he hewed his enemy down,

And saved a great cause that heroic day.
By permission of Houghton, Mitilin & Co.



HELPS TO STUDY Biographical: Edward Rowland Sill was born in Connecticut in 1841. He graduated at Yale and lived most of his life in California, being for some years professor of English language and literature at the State University. Sill was a true poet, but the whole of his literary output is contained in two slender volumes. His poems are noted for their compressed thought. The selection here given shows this quality.

Notes and Questions What do you learn from this poem?

using it? Where was the craven when he If the battle represents life, and

decided his sword was useless the craven and the king's son What word shows that he

are types of the people in the there of his own choice?

world, what do you think the What kind of sword had the swords represent? craven 8

Why is this poem called “OpporWhat words tell you that he was tunity!!

greatly needed in the thick of Can you think of another title the conflict

which might be given to it? What kind of sword had the king's Such a story as this is called an son

allegory. How long did the king's son look "furious''.- What is a furious bat

at the discarded sword before tle



Words and Phrases for Discussion “bestead

“hung along the battle's edge” “hemmed by foes



WHITHER, midst falling dew,
While glow the heavens with the last steps of day,
Far through their rosy depths dost thou pursue

Thy solitary way?


Vainly the fowler's eye
Might mark thy distant flight to do thee wrong,
As, darkly painted on the crimson sky,

Thy figure floats along.

« PreviousContinue »